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text 2016-10-22 05:52
#5 - Forest - an exploration of wild things, wild places and intimate relationships
FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend - Rod Raglin

How I came to write my fifth novel, Forest - Love, Loss and Legend.


My fifth novel was being written in my head even before I put anything on paper (more precisely typed anything into my laptop). It was the residuals of past works.


Left over from The Big Picture - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic was my research into the drug war in Mexico which my heroine Freyja covered as a photo journalist. I'd also done some investigating of failed states and civil wars throughout Africa where she was going on her next assignment. Added to that was my fascination with war correspondents and how they cope with a steady diet of death, destruction, chaos and hopelessness.


I also wanted to delve deeper into intimate relationships - what attracts us, what keep us engaged and what are the impediments to long lasting relationships? I'd touch on this in my previous novels with the turbulent romances between Freyja and Marty, and Freyja and Miguel in The Big Picture, and Dieter and Maggie in Not Wonder More - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. I wanted to explore further how different values, different cultures, timing and circumstances impact on how, who and when we fall in love - and if it lasts.


I set this book in the Pacific Northwest of Canada - perhaps one of the few areas on the planet where there still are vast tracts of wilderness. Where, behind an impenetrable wall of green it was as my hero, Matt Bennett says, “easy to imagine no human had ever set foot a hundred metres on either side of the road. Species could come to life, thrive and die without anyone except God ever knowing they existed.”


This land is a place of legend and mystery and if you're born and raised here and take an interest in the wild things and wild places as I have, well, there's no end to fascinating tales with just enough substantiated fact to whet the imagination. Two of which I incorporated into this story.


Here's the blurb that introduces the novel.


Matthew and Raminder are young, idealistic and in love.

As soon as they can they plan to leave behind the small town and small minds of Pitt Landing. They will embrace life and experience the world, maybe even change it.

Man plans, God laughs. Raminder’s father has a stroke and her commitment to her family means she must postpone her plans and stay in Pitt Lake. It’s just the opposite for Matt. A family tragedy leaves irreconcilable differences between him and his father and forces him to leave.

They promise to reunite, but life happens.

Twelve years later, Matt is an acclaimed war correspondent. He’s seen it all and it’s left him with post-traumatic stress, a gastric ulcer, and an enlarged liver. He’s never been back to Pitt Landing though the memory of Raminder and their love has more than once kept him sane.

He’s at his desk in the newsroom, recuperating from his last assignment and current hangover and reading a letter from his father, the first contact they’ve had in over a decade. It talks about a legendary lost gold mine, a map leading to it, and proof in a safety deposit box back in Pitt Lake. He’s sent it to Matt in case something happens to him and cautions his son to keep it a secret.

Matt is about to dismiss the letter when the telephone rings. It’s Raminder telling him his father has disappeared somewhere in the wilderness that surrounds Pitt Lake.

Lost gold, lost love and lost hope compels Matt to return home to Pitt Landing, a dying town on the edge of the rainforest on the west coast of Canada. Will he find any of these, or does something else await him?


This novel also gave me an opportunity to revisit one of my central themes - the environment, specifically the protection of endangered species and forest conservation.


Quite inadvertently it also turned out to be a mystery.


Forest - Love, Loss, Legend was released in January 2015 with no expectations. Sales have been dismal despite the handful of very flattering reviews it has garnered.


Perhaps because it was told from only one point of view, Forest was easy to write. Too easy. I resolved that my next book would be more challenging in format and content.


You can check all my published work at my Amazon Author Page at



Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.






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review 2016-09-04 12:29
Given the Circumstances - Brad Vance

Brian was right when he said he didn't deserve Roger. He so didn't. Roger was a level of perfection probably only found in a fictional character and I just couldn't wait for him to finally get rewarded for all the sacrifices he made along the way to becoming an NFL star. Brian tried to do the same to make it to the top in baseball but he didn't have Roger's strength. I guess few people do. But it was so painful to watch Brian's downward spiral continue seemingly without ever ending.

In fact, this book took so long to get me to a happy place I did something I have never done before: I stopped listening to the audio and started reading myself just to get through the pain faster.

I'm not sure why it affected me so much. It really wasn't that bad compared to other things I've read, but I just couldn't take it.

I liked the story but I could have done with a lot less details on various tactics and plays on the football field - I am European. I do not know this game or the rules and I do not care to get to know it, so that got a bit boring.

Brad Vance narrating his own book? Awesome - loved it.

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review 2015-11-03 17:37
Review - The Duke's Temptation (Men of Circumstance #1) by Addie Jo Ryleigh
The Duke's Temptation (Men of Circumstances Book 1) - Addie Jo Ryleigh
I loved this friends-to-lovers and brother's best friend/best friend little sister's romance. Gabe and Elizabeth have known each other since they were children. She has been in love with him since then and Gabe has been fighting the growing attraction between them. When his daughter comes to live with him, Elizabeth seizes the opportunity to be near him while taking care of Phoebe. It isn't long before he gives into her, but his past prevents him from moving forward. There are lots of tender moments with both Gabe and Elizabeth, and Gabe and his daughter as they form their father/daughter bond that help show the kind of man he really is, not the man he believes himself to be. The threat to his daughter from an unknown source adds a bit of mystery to the romance. Looking forward to the next book!
I received an ARC for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
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review 2015-08-12 01:46
Monster Story: Unforeseen Circumstances #11 by AJ Coonley
Monster Story (Unforeseen Circumstances Book 11) - AJ Coonley

I received a free kindle copy of Monster Story: Unforeseen Circumstances #11 by AJ Coonley, published by AJC Publisher, Inc. from Amazon in exchange for a fair review.

I gave this short horror story almost four stars.

Mr. Sandberg had been a sixth grade teacher for nearly twenty years. "In all that time he had never encountered a student as disruptive, rude, impolite, mouthy or all-around ill-behaved as Mark Manzella. He gleefully reflected that he would have the little monster in his class for 19 more school days. Summer vacation would begin in under four weeks, bringing him welcomed relief from Manzella. He finished writing, then turned to answer the student from hell."

Scott Newcomb was the only student who could stand up to Mark. They were both bullies but Mark was far worse. He planned on getting even with Mr. Sandberg for embarrassing him in class.

"Both boys started laughing. Scott laughed because he believed Mark was kidding. Mark laughed because Scott believed he was kidding."

Things are not always what they seem. This had a surprise ending.

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0131XNF2M


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review 2015-07-29 02:53
The Obituary by AJ Coonley (Review)
The Obituary (Unforeseen Circumstances Book 9) - AJ Coonley

AJ Coonley writes a decent short story. Imagine waking up, picking up the morning edition, and seeing your own name in the obituaries. Coonley takes a great idea and runs with it. The catch is the ending. After reading this, I would love to see what else Coonley has up his sleeve.

Enjoy this great lunchtime read by following this link here.

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